Reflections of Edtech 543 Social Network Learning

social media reflection
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Integrating social network learning into my course curriculum has long been one of my teaching goals. We live in a digitally connected world and our students have grown up using Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and other social networking sites. My question was always how to effectively harness the power of these sites in a way that was meaningful and beneficial educationally to my students.

Edtech 543 Social Network Learning allowed me to explore various social networking sites and applications and evaluate their usefulness in my classroom. I also evaluated digital citizenship and how interacting on social media affects both my professional and personal image. I now have a greater understanding of how communities of practice, connectivism, and personal learning networks act as a foundation for social networking in a relevant, positive way. Through my blog post on COPs, Connectivism, and PLNs, I gained the understanding that learning is no longer a solitary endeavor. Learning has become a social practice and communication and collaboration are the keystones of 21st century education.

Another component of this course involved participating in Twitter chats and live webinars. Because I engage in both of these activities fairly regularly, I felt comfortable “chatting” with my Twitter PLN. If nothing else, this module allowed me to reconnected with my professional colleagues on Twitter that I had lost touch with over the past few months. In addition, we were asked to form a PLN with two other members of the course and work on various projects together. Completing this assignment helped to expand my contacts and build my social network. In addition, creating a visual depiction of my PLN helped me to analyze how I connect with other people in my learning community.

My favorite assignment in this course required our PLN class group to develop a checklist of criteria to assess the quality of an education-related curated topic. The checklist was then used to individually curate a topic of our choice. Exploring various curation tools such as Storify, ScoopIt, and Pearltrees was invaluable. Each of these tools has advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately I chose to use ScoopIt as my curation tool and student driven learning as my topic for this assignment. ScoopIt provided a simple way to curate content and include a short description of the value of the source. Not only did I learn about curating content, I expanded my understanding of student driven learning and began to seriously consider how I can intentionally integrate student curation into my classroom curriculum.

Finding educational projects that successfully use social media and then curating that content also proved highly beneficial. While finding 10-15 projects that successfully used social media in the science classroom proved to be a bit difficult, I did find two projects that I am hoping to use in my science classroom this year. #Organellewars and ‘Blogging about diseases’ were fantastic.  I am hoping to get my entire science department involved in #organellewars this year when we teach about the cell. We were also asked to develop our own social media policy for our learning environment. Exploring other social media policies and then creating one for my classroom encouraged me to reflect on how and why I will use social media this year.

Our final assignment involved formulating a social networked mini-curricular unit with our course PLN. My group chose to build a Greek Mythology unit using Edmodo and Weebly as our main platforms. Students would also be required to use Twitter, Edublogs, Padlet, Diigo, and YouTube to complete the project. While my group worked extremely well together, I’m not sure that this is a unit I could reasonably use in the classroom. Introducing and requiring students to use so many different social networking sites for one unit does not seem practical. It was, however, interesting to apply the social networking strategies we had used throughout this course.

Overall, I found Edtech 543 to be a valuable course that allowed me to delve into the various uses, benefits, and guidelines of using social networking in my learning environment. In evaluating my blog post and participation and proposing a grade, I would give myself a 75/75. I feel that I met all of the criteria required for the course and wrote thoughtful, informative posts.

Social Media in the Science Classroom

social-media-science
Image Credit – genomicenterprise.com

Below is my curated content on social media in the science classroom.  While I found some fantastic examples of social media being used effectively, I was surprised at how difficult it was to find actual projects.  Most sites simply listed ideas of the ways social media could be used but did not give specific examples of projects.  I extended my search beyond science and looked at a few STEM projects. The projects I did find involved using Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Blogging sites to build a science lesson or unit.

Pearltrees – Social Media in the Science Classroom

#Organellewars and ‘Blogging about diseases’ were my two favorite projects.  I am hoping to get my entire science department involved in #organellewars this year when we teach about the cell. Upon a recent check of Twitter #organellewars, I noticed the Tweets have continued all through this past spring. The blogging about diseases inspired me to think about how I can use a class blog as an instrumental part of my science curriculum. I believe writing should be a central part of all academics and blogging is a great tool for critical thinking and reflection. Both Skype and Facebook would be interesting ways to open up the classroom to other parts of the country and world. Unless I found a really fantastic example, I do not believe I would use Snapchat in my classroom. The few projects I located using Snapchat offered little educational merit. This project opened my eyes to some great opportunities to bring social media into the science curriculum.

I would love to hear from other educators in the comments below about how they use social media in their science lessons.

Footprints in the Sand – My Lesson In Digital Reputation

FootprintInSand

On the Internet a digital footprint is the word used to describe the trail, traces or “footprints” that people leave online. This is information transmitted online, such as forum registration, e-mails and attachments, uploading videos or digital images and any other form of transmission of information — all of which leaves traces of personal information about yourself available to others online. Vangie Beal

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my digital footprint and what it says about me. First and foremost I am a Christian. Unashamed and saved by His grace, however I don’t always include that in my bios. Anyone looking at my regular Facebook account can clearly see my beliefs, but you would have to dig a little deeper into my Twitter to see my personal religious views. Twitter is the foundation for my PLN and serves a different purpose than Facebook. As far as Instagram goes, I use it primarily for my small business and as such, it is a reflection of my business world. Other social media I engage in (more infrequently) are Snapchat and Google+. Then I think about all of the accounts that I have for the MET program at BSU. I probably have dozens of apps on my computer/devices from the course requirements over the past year. All of those apps, including my blog, reflect my learning and goals as an educator.  All this to say, this activity is leaving an indelible mark on my digital footprint.

When I Googled my name, this is what I found on the first page:

DigitalFootprintGoogle

Only the first entry on this page is actually linked to me!  The rest of the entries are other ‘Joanna Liebermans’ that, as far as I know, I have no relation to.  On the strip of pictures, the fourth picture is the profile picture I use for grad school and professional purpose. As I progressed to the next Google page, I found the first two items linked to two social media sites I occasionally use, Flipagram and Pinterest. There is then a listing for a fundraising link for a Joanna Lieberman involved with Project100 (not me). It is not until the fourth and fifth listings on the second page that my learning logs for the MET program are listed!  These are followed by a few more listing unrelated to me.

I realize that a digital footprint is much more than what can be found by Googling a name.  As Vangie Beal said in the above quote, our digital footprints, “describe the trail, traces or “footprints” that people leave online”. As a teacher and business owner, I must be mindful and careful about the footprint I am leaving behind. Privacy settings, tags, and comments must be monitored closely to be sure my integrity is held intact. One thing I am sure to teach this digital generation of students is, unlike a footprint in the sand, a digital footprint does not wash away with the ocean’s tide.

What is Digital Footprint? Webopedia Definition. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/D/digital_footprint.html

Creative Expression: Social Network Learning – CoPs, Connectivism, and PLNs

https://app.api.edu.buncee.com/player/e8abe5dff3944d34982a5a7da891187f?render_slide_panel=0&loop=0

When creating a visual expression of the three concepts in this module: Communities of Practice, Connectivism, and Personal Learning Networks, I chose to begin with the idea of gears. Alone a gear (or cog) does not serve much purpose, but when linked with other gears and a common purpose, these individual gears become part of a valuable network. That is how it is with educators. Alone we are isolated and less productive, but when we become part of a learning community, we can achieve so much more.

Communities of Practice are all about togetherness, which is why I chose images of hands reaching in together and small groups of people collaborating.  According to Lave and Wenger (2014), in Communities of Practice, learning involves a deepening process of participation. Learning is done in groups and the focus is on lifelong learning rather than a short-term project goal. In CoPs, learners collaborate, communicate, and create through social networks over extended periods of time. People in Communities of Practice share a common interest or passion.

Connectivism is a learning theory developed by Dr. George Siemens and Stephen Downes. It “seeks to explain complex learning in a rapidly changing social digital world”(Education2020). According to Dr. Siemens, Connectivism is a social connected process of learning. The visual interpretation of a network of rapidly firing neurons that are connecting through external social spaces is the image I hoped to portray through my next slide. Learning is a process of connecting information through social sources such as blogs and social media. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have redefined learning in the 21st century and build on the theory of Connectivism.

Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) have, for many educators, redefined professional development. Rather than meeting with a predetermined (by administrators) team of colleagues to discuss a predetermined (by administrators) topic, PLNs use social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate, and create with like-minded individuals. PLNs can meet any time and any place.  Each PLN is unique and each member is a potential source of information. A PLN can be thought of a “collective knowledge”. Facebook and Twitter, as depicted on my PLN slide, have become a central part of PLNs.

My final slide is a visual image bring these three concepts together.  Over time, learning has evolved from an individual practice with a fixed beginning and end, to a community of learners committed to lifelong education. It is no longer separated from other activities. Professional development is no longer fixed to one place and time with one “instructor” or leader commanding all of the attention. As individuals we have a lot to offer, but as a community, we gain so much more.

Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger). (2014, July 16). Retrieved from https://www.learning-theories.com/communities-of-practice-lave-and-wenger.html
Education-2020 – Connectivism. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2017, from http://education-2020.wikispaces.com/Connectivism
Graffin, M. (2015, November 14). Step 1: What is a PLN? Retrieved from https://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/pln-challenge-1-what-the-heck-is-a-pln/
Whitby, T. (2013, November 18). How Do I Get a PLN? Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-do-i-get-a-pln-tom-whitby

Social Networking: EdTech 543 Introduction

 

“Education needs role models who demonstrate that complex problems are solved by cooperative networks of creative & passionate individuals.” – Alec Couros

How will the use of social networking sites impact my teaching? As we venture into this course, Edtech 543, this is the question I am beginning to ponder.  I have used Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Instagram for years. Each of these social media sites plays a different role in my life. Facebook is my way of connecting with friends and family around the world. I was born in England, went to college in New York, and first started my teaching career in Florida. Facebook allows me to stay in touch with my friends and family both near and far. I do belong to a few education related Facebook groups, but I primarily use Facebook for personal contacts. Google Plus has not been a central part of my social media life. I joined when I began my graduate courses at BSU and only post to it when I create a new class assignment. I am a Wellness Advocate for a holistic healthcare company and Instagram is my go to social media site for connecting with others in the business.

So that leaves Twitter.  Twitter is the only social media site that I use primarily for professional development.  I have a network of Twitter friends with similar interests in education that I connect with on a daily basis.  I have gained valuable insight into teaching pedagogy and am often encouraged by like-minded educators in my Twitter #PLN. Last summer I was part of a Twitter book club where we discussed A.J. Juliani’s book LAUNCH: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity. My experience in reading the book was much enriched through the discussions and insights of my PLN.

Because I teach in a small, private school and teach students under the age of 13, social media has not really been a part of my classroom instruction. Most social media sites are blocked by the school’s security software and my students are not old enough to join most social media sites (although I am aware that many of my students have their own personal accounts). I am looking forward to discovering how I can effectively, safely, and appropriately integrate social media and social networking into my classroom environment. Through this course I hope to better understand the role social media can play in my classroom.

Beginnings

Welcome to my Learning Log!  I am currently a student a Boise State University pursuing my Master of Educational Technology degree and a certificate as a Tech Integration Specialist.  The purpose of this website is to display my work (artifacts) as I progress through the program. I am a teacher and wish to instill in my students a love of learning and the courage to explore.  I am looking forward to beginning the journey…